Grand Theft Auto (commonly abbreviated GTA) is an award-winning video game series created in the United Kingdom by Dave Jones, then later by brothers Dan Houser and Sam Houser, and game designer Zachary Clarke. It is primarily developed by Rockstar North (formerly DMA Design) and published by Rockstar Games. The name of the series is derived from grand theft auto, a term referring to motor vehicle theft.
The series is set in fictional locales heavily modelled on American cities, while an expansion for the original was based in London. Gameplay focuses on an open world where the player can choose missions to progress an overall story, as well as engaging in side activities; all consisting of action, adventure, driving, occasional role-playing, stealth, and racing elements. The subject of the games is usually a comedic satire of American culture, but the series has gained controversy for its adult nature and violent themes. The series focuses around many different protagonists who attempt to rise through the ranks of the criminal underworld, although their motives for doing so vary in each game. The antagonists are commonly characters who have betrayed the protagonist or his organization, or characters who have the most impact impeding the protagonist's progress.
Video game developer DMA Design began the series in , and it currently has ten stand-alone games and four expansion packs. The third chronological title, Grand Theft Auto III, was widely acclaimed, as it brought the series to a 3D setting and more immersive experience, and is considered a landmark title that has subsequently influenced many other open world action games and led to the label "Grand Theft Auto clone" on similar games. Subsequent titles would follow and build upon the concept established in Grand Theft Auto III. Film veterans such as Michael Madsen, Ray Liotta, Burt Reynolds, Dennis Hopper, Danny Trejo, Gary Busey, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Penn, James Woods, Joe Pantoliano, Frank Vincent, Robert Loggia, Kyle MacLachlan, and Peter Fonda have all voiced major characters in many installments, and the series is critically acclaimed and commercially successful.
Each game in this series allows players to take on the role of a criminal or a wannabe in a big city, typically an individual who rises through the ranks of organized crime through the course of the game. The player is given various missions by kingpins and major idols in the city underworld which must be completed to progress through the storyline. Assassination and other crimes feature regularly, but occasionally taxi driving, firefighting, street racing, bus driving, or learning to fly helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft are also involved.
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